Prior reading to visit
Links provided by the OCA in the study visit pre reading
- http://www.bjp-online.com/2016/11/wolfgang-tillmans-an-interview-from-the-bjp-archives/ accessed 3rd May 2017
- https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/feb/13/wolfgang-tillmans-photographer-interview-tate-modern accessed 3rd May 2017
- https://aperture.org/blog/wolfgang-tillmans/ accessed 3rd May 2017
Accessed 3rd May 2017
Accessed 3rd May 2017
Study Visit – Tate Modern 6th May 2017
Upon arrival to the exhibition, the Tate provided a booklet, this provided background to the exhibition a floor plan and each room (14 in total) had a description of the theme and some of the works shown.
Our tutor for the day Jayne Taylor provided background to the exhibition itself and guidance on some of the content and where to meet up for a discussion over lunch afterwards.
My personal brief for the day was to view the exhibition and to also look at how the exhibition was set out, the media used and how the images were hung. This is now an ongoing brief for my final exhibition and presentation of work. I’ll get that out of the way now. Prints were shown on the walls in 4 different ways:
- Printed and mounted using clear scotch tape
- Mounted and framed under glass
- Printed and then hung from nails in the wall using white bulldog clips
- Mounted behind acrylic boxes.
In certain rooms (e.g. room 4) the wooden tables present thoughts, research on images represented. This mood board shows snippets taken from magazine articles, research papers of others, internet searches and images.
There are a number of pieces that resonated with me personally and some which clearly did not. Firstly I made handwritten notes while walking around the exhibition and these were then written up afterwards with any of my own images added to these notes, they are then included at the end of this document.
What I connected with
I find myself very much leaning towards abstract photography, the (on first appearance) simple colour panels, printed but creased and folded prints, smoke trails and close in detail shots very much resonate with imagery that I enjoy. The workstation in room 2 is very much my typical space and I loved the disassembled copier. Part of me wanted to get in there with a screwdriver and disassemble it further.
What I didn’t connect with
Ok, not sure why you would want to display out of focus work. I understand it is done and in a body of other work can tell a story but for me it takes away from the story of the image if I’m then asking questions as to why that particular image of the boy and the car isn’t sharp anywhere. I’m also not aligned with the personal aspects of his work that are of friends. Some very well composed and presented portraits which then sit aside a very large print of a mans hairy backside/scrotum, there is form to the posing but I feel they dont fit well into this presentation and body of work.
A large exhibition that took around 1.5 hours to navigate and I didn’t really scratch the surface. It was very helpful to carry out the pre-reading actually before the visit but to also read this again afterwards. Definitely, a second visit needs to occur before the exhibition closes on 11th June 2017.
Post study referencing
Accessed 7th May 2017
Photographic Exhibition in the Atrium Gallery at the London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London. 24th April to 5th May 2017.
I attended this exhibition on Wednesday 26th April, for an exhibition it’s quite short and having visited the LSE atrium gallery before it only has 1 long white wall which can restrict the number of works displayed. Makiko has displayed there before in 2016 and although I visited that exhibition also it was before this course began and is therefore out of scope of this blog.
My first impressions, a nicely presented body of work comprising of 23 pieces on 1 wall. The gallery has a description panel at one end with sheets of A4 pages that inform the visitor on the history of Nozaki and Christianity in the region where the images were made. At the other, a tv screen repeating a video of the island itself to add context to the monochrome images, next to this are a small clear box with small square business cards and a mini competition. The competition is a good idea, a partial image asks you to identify where the deer is in the picture, an animal spot the ball competition if you will. The paper provided asks for the answer, feedback on the exhibition and your contact information, twitter address etc. which you then place in a box to win a print of the main image. This is a good idea to not only engage your audience but it’s a spin on the visitor book experience which captures your potential customer base.
There are 23 images in total, all of which are in monochrome. Starting at image 1 they lead you through the island trail on which the Christians would have travelled between villages to worship. the island is now abandoned and is gradually being taken back by nature, the villagers homes are showing evidence of failure and the pathways/stairs crumbling and turning into the rocks from where they came. Nature is as it was before man and the wildlife, deer especially, seeming to lack the fear of human presence again. this is emphasised in her images of the stalking deer, it seems he is keeping an eye on her to reinforce the fact that humans have moved out and the island is now theirs again. The landscape also portrays the diverse plantlife and scape of the island, from a forest, to hills and then to a savannah type terrain moulded by the winds blowing from the nearby volcano. the smaller images are well composed and draw the viewers eyes to the details in the image where they need to be through shallow depths of field. Finally you’re led to the shrine on a very large hill that must have taken a good few hours to climb!
The prints are displayed as monochrome prints on foamboard which I believe is stuck to the wall and 3 framed and glazed prints. The prints all have a small description label to the left side at the bottom which identifies the image number, name and plant species in the image. I found the last item a little unusual and assume Makiko has an interest in plants generally or her local guide provided this information.
The series of images work, I felt that on viewing these I was on the journey with Makiko across the island being stalked by a large deer. The largest image of the series is framed and glazed around 100cm high x 155cm wide and forms the central image of the series. Of the framed images of which there are 3, they appear to represent milestones on the journey and possibly rest points as you tend to linger more when viewing at those images. My only critique would be that the large print seems to have suffered being enlarged and has lost its sharpness and the central image of the deer feels to lack the impact, the image is not pixellated but seems to be a little too soft but then I’m of the opinion images need to be pretty sharp to work but it does depend on the subject and your message overall that you want the viewer to take away.
My tutor recently asked me to look at exhibition presentation of work and I’ve taken away a number of useful ideas regarding sizing, layout, presentation and labelling that have re-inforced the feedback from my last assignment. In addition the history sheet on the island adds some interesting facts which the images build upon and an article from the local York newspaper enhances the exhibition as local marketing.
Although a little short I found that it was well presented, the series of images told a story which took the visitor to the island and gave you a sense of what it is actually like. My only critique is regarding the sharpness of the large image but in context with the other prints I think this is intentional rather than a technical error. I very much liked this exhibition and think Makiko has done a great job here and I recommend a visit if you’re in London before it closes on 5th May.
One of my tutors mentioned this competition to me in mid 2016 and by that time the 2015 exhibition was over and done with. Early in 2017 after seeing an advert on the London Underground of the image by Karl Ohio and Riikka Kassinen of the Boy Scout on a yellow background, and a suggestion from a friend I decided to go. This was the first time I’ve attended this exhibition and other than a group of portrait photographs I wasn’t sure what else to expect. I visited on a grey and cold day in December 2016 and thankfully it wasn’t raining, nothing like a damp dog smell accompanying you to an exhibition.
Thankfully most places these days offer student discounts so I wander up to the ticket desk and present my credit card with my NUS card. I would highly recommend attending in person to get your tickets as with most ticketed events these days if you buy online there is the admin charge to swallow.
Another note to mention is the accompanying book for the exhibition was available in the shop. at £10 rather than the £15 cover price if bought elsewhere, so total savings for the day £6. Good start.
The exhibition itself accompanies the annual photo prize which started in 1993 and is currently sponsored sponsored by Taylor Wessing LLP whom have done so for the last nine years. The prize itself is a handsome £15,000, with second place £3,000 and third place £2,000. In addition the John Kobal new work award is £5,000.
The winners this year were:
- 1st Prize – Claudio Rasono for Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya 
- 2nd Prize – Joni Sternbach for 16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell from the series Surfland
- 3rd Prize – Kovi Konowiecki for Tilly and Itty Beitar Illit, and Shimi Beitar Illit, from the series Bei Mir Bistu Shein
- John Kobal new work award – Josh Redman for Frances
Winners were selected from 4,303 submitted entries from 1,8452 photographers in 61 countries. I was a little surprised here as the numbers of submitted entries sounded low for such a prestigious completion and a large purse (compared against other competitions).
One of the striking aspects was seeing a portrait up close and larger than real life of the person, with the colours very vibrant and quality of the printed images exceptional. the guide book is very useful but the prints in the exhibition need to be seen up close and personal.
I suppose a traditional take on a portrait is one of the sitter being posed in their natural environment, similar to those on the wall of the National Portrait Gallery itself. My interpretation is very similar although my views are changing. It is interesting to see in the exhibition itself traditional portraits (such as Nigel Farage and Simon Callow), posing with his trademark cigar being shown alongside images that I wouldn’t normally consider a portrait such as those by Ebony Finck, Scott Thomas and Katie Barlow which I would consider documentary in nature. It’s good to see the judges have not stuck to a restrictive brief here and the exhibition itself I felt was very well curated.
What did I like, there are quite a few but I could babble on for pages so I’ll try and keep this short(ish) I very much liked the black and white image by Fabio Forin. The white shirt of his partner against the light sky and contrasted by the dark trousers of the dark grass and with the horizon line of the hill cutting through his waist his brilliant. The image by Charlie Clift of Nigel Farage was very well lit, the background and foreground contrasts nicely against the dark of the suit/white shirt. Smoking a cigar sets him out to be a smug individual, (and taken at the time of the Brexit referendum he probably was) and I found that the eyes were not fully closed but enough to not allow a catchlight, thus removing his soul. I’m a big fan of catchlights, they add to the image and draw you into the face. Not entirely sure as to whether this was intentional or not but adds to soul of this image. Maria by Kelvin Murray  on first view looks like a woman on a mountainside in the alps, when you pay closer attention you will see the ripped wallpaper, climbing helmets and control buttons. As they say the devil is in the detail, nicely set up and captured. The colour of the helmets link together with the guitar and the white wooden hanger ties in with the blouse, although they are not related in any way they feel together with the mountain range.
This exhibition is a must see and ends at the National Portrait Gallery on 26th February 2017. My thanks to Neil Evans of the National Portrait gallery for the very useful press pack.
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 37–37)Karl Ohiri and Riika Kassinen – Boy Scout
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 20–21) Claudio Rasano – Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 22–23)Joni Sternbach – 16.02.20 #1 Thea+Maxwell from the series Surfland
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 24–25) Loving Konowiecki – Shimi Beitar Illit – May 2016
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 26–26) Josh Redman – Frances
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 55–55)Charlie Clift – Nigel Farage smirking a cigar
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 72–72) Andy Lo Po – Simon Callow
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 67–67)Ebony Finck – Untitled #1
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 41–41)Scott Thomas – Jet, Ironman Boy
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 58–59)Katie Barlow – Pink Bobble hat & looking back
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 63–63)“Fabio Forin – Wing” (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 63–63)
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 52–52)Kelvin Murray – Maria
 Taylor Wessing at the National Portrait Gallery. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2016/exhibition/ accessed 19th February 2017
Sabina Jaskot-Gill in conversation with Christiane Monarchi and Kovi Konowiecki. 16th February 2017 7pm at the National Portrait Gallery.
I wanted to see this in conversation piece as I visited the exhibition  itself in December 2016. So why did I want to attend this event? I really enjoyed the exhibition and how it had been presented in quite a small space. The variety of photographs and how they had been presented and the argument of what is a portrait, does it need to show a full face? Can it be street photography, documentary, reportage or is a portrait purely an image where the subject or sitter has been posed in an environment controlled fully by the photographer to tell a story. I also wanted to gleen some inside tips on how the judges approached the culling of 4,303 submitted images down to 100 for the show, was there a prescribed approach on what was acceptable, how were they filtered, categorised, were there any arguments during selection?
This was the first event of this kind that I had attended and being new to this and not wanting to miss out I was one of the first into the room and chose to sit at the front. The evening started at 7pm and the guests introduced by Sabrina Jaskot-Gill, Associate Curator of photography at the National Portrait Gallery. Christiane Monarchi was one of the 6 panel judges and her experience is extensive (see link) , finally the 3rd place winner Kovi Konowiecki.
Entries are submitted in printed form, each photographer can submit up to 6 images. The images are in plastic sleeves and presented to the judging panel initially with only the title of the image. Photographer details and any back story are not available to the judging panel. It took the judges 2 days to complete the initial screening and it was interesting to note that Christiane preferred a longer title than ‘John’ as it gave more insight into the image and provided them with a story albeit partial.
Important things to note are that image quality, clarity, presentation (use good quality sleeves) and print quality are of the utmost importance. If the focus is not on the eye or the print quality has fallen apart at a larger size, the colours aren’t accurate (greens are apparently of a particular problem in digital printing and can break apart) then the image will fail.
When I first visited the show it did occur to me that for such a prestigious show and prize there were only 4,303 submissions. Sabina mentioned this may be opened up to digital submissions for 2017 and Christiane commented she had read this online aswell. It was worthy to note another point is that images are seen by the panel in the order they are submitted, so first come first served.
Think about scale, larger print formats will look different than smaller ones. It was clear from the show that the larger images created a bigger impact and draw the view in, on that note this also means print and image quality can be examined in greater detail.
Christiane made reference to the story a few times in the evening, it was clear that when reviewing images what is implied can lead to a discussion in the panel, what does the image show, what message is being conveyed. Images should be in a series, that series should tell a story and be consistent (my words). Again Christiane made comment on submissions being of different sizes, and even printed on different papers which did nit help.
To the left of the discussion panel was a very large screen in which the photographs of discussion points were displayed, the panel sat close together and each fitted with a microphone so they could be heard. Sabine led the discussion well and with enthusiasm. I felt the overall presentation of the evening was well executed
I go back to quality for a moment, it was good to hear, but at the same time a little daunting, that Kovi had spent 2 whole weeks in the Printspace ensuring his images were perfect. It was unclear as to how much this had cost overall but an important note for me to consider if I intend to submit images for this year’s completion and more importantly for my final year exhibition.
Kovi is Jewish and approached his local Rabbi in Long Beach as an inroad into the congregation, although initially they were hesitant Kovi was able to photograph the large extended family of the Rabbi. His final image taken was of Shimi Beitar Illit 
Shimi, Beitar Illit, ‘Bei Mir Bistu Shein’ ©Kovi Konowiecki
in the hat and afterwards Kovi directed Shimi to set up a self portrait of Kovi wearing the hat which not very many people have seen apparently. This series is titled Being mir bisto shein which is yiddish, ‘To me you are beautiful’.
It was nice to also see another series of images created by Kovi titled Delivering Flowers to grandpa Jackwhich were created in Long beach using natural light and during the golden hour, something we don’t get a lot of here in London recently. I’ve included the link but will research them later.
There were some images submitted that had clearly not been posed, instances in time that had been captured such as the family on a park bench in Regent’s Park by Sarah Lee  and the series by Sian Davey titled Martha.
Seye, Miah, Elijah and Alexander. Regent’s Park 2016. ©Sarah Lee
Both images above – Martha ©Sian Davey
We could also look at a portrait of Mike Tyson created by Albert Watson, this has been posed and Mike Tyson has sat for the image, it’s a portrait but does not show his face.
Sleeping worker. ©Etienne Malapert
An image also selected by the judges from Etienne Malapert shows an image captured of a sleeping worker. Not posed (the worker is asleep) face is visible but it has been included as a portrait. Could these candid images be documentary or even street photography and does a portrait need to be planned and posed? The panel seem to be open on the interpretation here.
My sincere thanks to Neil Evans at the National Portrait Gallery for his kind assistance in sending me a press pack. Images kindly reproduced with permission and copyright remains as stated under each image.
National Portrait Gallery – Taylor Wessing Exhibition. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2016/exhibition/ – Accessed 16th February 2017
National Portrait Gallery – In conversation with event. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/late-shift-1/in-conversation-16022017 – Accessed 16th February 2017
 Delivering flowers to Grandpa Jack http://www.kovikonowiecki.com/scenes-from-home#1 accessed 17th February 2017
 Mike Tyson by Albert Watson. http://www.masteringphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/Watson.jpg accessed 19th February 2017.
 McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. Loving Konowiecki – Shimi Beitar Illit – May 2016 (McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 25–25
McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. Note (pp. 33 – 33): Etienne Malapart – sleeping worker March 2015 page 33
 McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications.(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 35–35)Note Sarah Lee – Seye, Miah, Elijah and Alexander, Regents Park June 2016
 McClure, R. and Cullinnan, N. (2016) Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize 2016. United Kingdom: National Portrait Gallery Publications. McClure and Cullinnan, 2016,(McClure and Cullinnan, 2016, pp. 30–31): Sian Davey – Martha series
This set of episodes originally aired by the BBC in 1972 and accompanied the book by John Berger of the same name. This book is recommended reading in the photography 1 EYV module. I thought I’d give the video a try despite it being as old as I am. Once you’ve stepped through the obvious fashion and production historical elements I was pleasantly surprised as to how valid the content is today, even the references in episode 4 are as true today.
John Berger – Ways of seeing Episode 1 on You Tube
Paintings in isolation, to be viewed where hung and only available to people who went to see them, usually in peace and quiet. Since advent of the camera these images can be seen by millions of people everywhere and at the same time. The images can be used to manipulate peoples experience by using music and portraying aspects of the painting at different times to portray a potentially different story to that of which the painter originally intended. Paintings on walls in buildings to decorate buildings can only be viewed in situ to show their full story, the order in which each image is shown as you progress down a corridor can create a different chapter of a story and progress in a liner timeline if an artist intended it this way. Now with a photographic image any one of those paintings can be reproduced and then shown out of sequence to literally paint a different story to you the viewer.
This episode also presents the fact that paintings will always be interpreted by people in a different way, the children in this episode looked at a painting by Caravaggio, Supper at Emmaus ( http://www.artway.eu/content.php?id=1154&lang=en&action=show accessed 06/09/2016) and each had a different opinion on the painting, drawn as John mentions from their own experiences. It was interesting to identify that the central figure was identified as female by the girls and male buy the boys, one even likened them to Jesus by one of the boys although this was then discussed and put aside when they explore the details such as hair and lack of stubble.
viewed 5th September 2016
This episode starts off with a monologue of women and how they see themselves, dress and act. Views expressed then are not necessarily those now, although some of the views could be considered current they are now also considered very sexist and entrapping of women. The programme then goes onto explore the subject of female nudity and nakedness. This relates to european views and culture in the artwork how man has perceived and also owned the female art form and indeed persecuted and blamed women from as far back as Adam and Eve through to modern works and photography including glamour imagery. Don’t forget this programme was made in 1972
viewed 6th September 2016
This episode processes through the machinery of the oil painting and how it’s purpose was to emphasise wealth and to show the spectator that the subject of the paintings, normally land/property owners, had a vast wealth and were putting it and themselves on display. It makes reference to only the wealthy being able to do this and not the poor. That paintings in the renaissance period often had gold leaf within the painting itself whereas later the gold leaf was on the frame and the subject of the painting was now the gold. There was a painting shown of a dutch man sitting in a room which then contained contemporary paintings of the time but at the same time showed him sitting within that wealth and prosperity. The spectators are shown to be acting, acting a part of their own paintings and becoming as one with the art. Again, women are shown historically as beside/supporting the man in their lives. The wealth exhibited was also highlighting where it came from, an African slave presenting a white owner with a painting exhibiting the very port from which this power, control and wealth emanated.
viewed 6th September 2016
Advertising, dreams of another place to be. To buy something to make you richer and to be a better person. Publicity is manufacturing glamour. Paintings in advertising either included to add culture/prestige or the poses replicated. Publicity and paintings share the same references however the paintings represent the owner, their current wealth and standings on society. Advertising presents the reverse of this, it portrays an image or a lifestyle that the end user needs to buy and to become what’s portrayed in the advert, sexy, rich, happy and the environments associated with those feelings.
It was interesting to see the contrasting imagery/advertising in the Sunday Times magazine. I’m writing this blog post 44 years after the show aired and yet, as then, we have the a migrant crisis in a foreign country, we have advertising bombardment to buy products to aspire to another plane. The messages are that by obtaining credit you can buy a better phone to then watch adverts in better quality of the people that are dying and fleeing conflict in Syria and other harsh realities of conflicts and conditions in Africa. Truly reflecting that man has not changed in the last half a century and that our window on this has shifted and may be different but is always influenced by history.
viewed on 6th September 2016
So I’ve signed up to my first study visit and I’ve just received the joining instructions. I’ll be the first to admit this is not something I would have chosen to visit normally, that said one of the things I learned from my previous courses is that keep an open mind and approach it with no presumptions.
There is definitely subject matter here for the EYV module, one of the reading texts for preparation is Ways of Seeing by J Berger (1972) and this is on the recommended reading materials for Photography 1. A book I’ve yet to acquire but I did watch and review the documentary that was published by the BBC and is readily available on You Tube. I’ll write up the video shortly and see how it compares to the book content.
So the first part of the study visit will be the exhibition itself at the Photographers Gallery near Oxford Circus:
Feminist avant garde of the 1970s exhibition which is on until 15th January 2017.
The second part will be at the Tate Modern:
Hermitos Children, the pilot episode 2008 and will be a viewing of a video by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.
Books just purchased for the pre-reading so hopefully they’ll be here in the next few days. Looking forward to this, note to self don’t walk from Waterloo again to the Tate it’s a bit of a trek!